Pentecost is the 50th and final day of the Easter Season. 50 Days after Jesus’ resurrection (and 10 days after Jesus’ Ascension), the apostles were gathered together, waiting for the promised “Holy Spirit” to come upon them. Jesus had told his Apostles prior to ascending into heaven, “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witness in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria and the ends of the Earth.” Acts 1:8. And as always, Jesus kept His promise. Pentecost celebrates the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and the beginning of the Church. As stated in Acts 2:1-4, “When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.”
The Holy Spirit empowered the Apostles. They went out into the streets of Jerusalem and began preaching to the crowds gathered for the festival. Not only did the disciples preach, but by a miracle of the Holy Spirit they spoke in the native languages (tongues) of the people present, many which had come from all corners of the Roman Empire. The apostle and first Pope of the Church, Peter addressed the crowd, preaching to them about Jesus’ death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins. The result was the first three thousand converts to the Catholic Church. The new converts were all baptized that day in the Holy Spirit.
This is the same Spirit that separated the earth from sky and the sea; the same breath that breathed into Adam now comes to rest on a group of frightened people to establish the church. The Church is now left in the hands of common men. But these men are moved by the Spirit. And the word of God cannot be contained.
The power of the Holy Spirit is the life of all Christians; as a Church, we are called to reach beyond our own borders, our own comfort and find our place within the entire body of believers. We as Baptized Christians, filled with the same Holy Spirit that came down on the Apostles on Pentecost, are to offer the witness of the kingdom of God to our family, our society and the global community.